8 THE QUEENS COURIER • APRIL 2, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Elmhurst Hospital’s leadership answers community’s
pressing questions during COVID-19 virtual town hall
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Queens Councilman Francisco Moya
hosted a COVID-19 virtual town hall
with Elmhurst Hospital’s leadership on
Monday, March 30, where they answered
some of the community’s pressing questions
and provided updates on the hospital’s
Th e town hall featured a few words
from Israel Rocha, vice president of NYC
Health + Hospitals and CEO of Elmhurst
and Queens Hospitals, and a presentation
and Q&A with Dr. Joseph Masci, chairman
of Elmhurst Hospital’s Department
of Global Health and a specialist in general
infectious diseases and emergency preparedness.
“A few years ago, Elmhurst Hospital
realized that we actually were battling conditions,
diseases and pathogens from all
over the world, and that disease does not
respect borders. It does not respect barriers,”
Rocha added that Elmhurst Hospital was
one of the fi rst hospitals in the country to
create a Global Health program, which is
led by Dr. Masci.
Dr. Masci noted that Elmhurst Hospital,
which is now the epicenter of the pandemic
in New York City, had 200 patients
with COVID-19 as of Monday, March 30.
“Th e hospital is very, very full right now,”
He said that while they have the equipment
and staff members they need, what
they really need is space. If people want to
donate nearby space or equipment, they
should get in contact with Rocha or the
Th e peak of COVID-19 will see 30 to 40
percent more cases than there currently are
in the city, according to Dr. Masci.
When asked why Queens and Elmhurst
Hospital have been overrepresented in
New York City’s COVID-19 health emergency,
Dr. Masci said that while they can’t
know anything until they have time to
study it, the rest of New York City’s hospital
system is now seeing similar activity.
“Th at initial spike in Queens is now
being matched throughout the city,” he
Dr. Masci delineated some of what
they’ve observed of COVID-19.
Elmhurst Hospital’s Dr. Joseph Masci
People wait in line to be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while wearing protective gear, outside Elmhurst Hospital Center on March 25.
gave a virtual presentation on COVID-19.
According to Dr. Masci, 80 percent of
people who are infected have no symptoms
or have symptoms that aren’t severe
enough to require hospitalization, but 20
percent do require hospitalization. Five
percent of the 20 percent who require hospitalization
need intensive care.
Dr. Masci said that it’s uncommon for
people under 30 to develop serious symptoms,
according to cases around the world
and in the U.S.
Th e Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene strongly recommends
against testing people
with mild or no symptoms.
But an indicator that
individuals should go to the
hospital is when they experience
shortness of breath, Dr.
When it comes to masks,
Dr. Masci said that they won’t
necessarily do anything to
protect you if you’re not sick.
He stressed that washing
your hands more times than
you think you should and staying home
will minimize the risk of getting the virus.
Personal protective equipment, Dr.
Masci said, should be preserved for hospital
and medical employees. “We have to
protect people who work in the hospitals,
because if we lose them, then we’ll have a
much bigger problem,” he said.
He also off ered a look at what the future
He said it’s almost certain there will be
many additional cases and deaths in the
city and country, as well as confusing messages.
Th ey predict there will be further
restrictions on travel in and outside of
the country, more hospital crowding, and
more hospital supply issues.
“We don’t think we’ve seen the peak of
this yet. We think it’s going to continue
to get worse for several more weeks,” Dr.
Moya, who was born at Elmhurst
Hospital and later worked there, thanked
all the nurses, doctors, janitors and hospital
workers for “doing God’s work.”
“We’ve been hit hard by this, but we’re
New Yorkers. We’re resilient. We stick
together. We band together, and if we do
things right, we will get through this,”
Moya said. “And I hope that tonight’s presentation
will calm a lot of the fears and
answer some of the questions we had here
For more information, visit nyc.gov/
coronavirus, and to reach Councilman
Moya, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To watch the full town hall, visit
Councilman Moya’s Facebook page. A
Spanish-translated version will be uploaded
Elmhurst Hospital’s Dr. Joseph Masci gave a virtual presentation
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